Miku Jha, CEO
Of the one-third food produced yearly across the globe for human consumption, an approximate 1.3 billion is wasted. This roughly accounts for US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. Though the food sector is not known for adopting AI to bring about a change or solving these global food challenges, innovative start-ups today have changed the scene, from sorting food to managing the supply chain, personal hygienic procedures to developing new products, cleaning processing equipment to growing better food.
AgShift, an AI based food technology startup in Silicon Valley, aims at standardizing food quality assessment within organizations. AgShift, with its innovative AI technology, offers a completely unbiased, objective, quality assessment for selected commodities, protecting the quality, sourcing, pricing, and brand—every single time. Further digitization brings 10x operational efficiencies compared to current inspection processes which are tedious and time consuming—reducing the overall labor costs. Consistent and objective quality assessment across the supply chain also reduces discrepancies in interpreting quality of food thereby significantly reducing food waste across the supply chain.
“At AgShift we are re-imagining food inspection at various layers—starting from digitizing product specifications, using mobile-first approach for operational efficiencies to leveraging Deep Learning to make inspections autonomous,” states Miku Jha, CEO, AgShift.
As quality assessments are mostly manual these days, there are a few shortcomings.
Searching for different kinds of defects manually causes brain fatigue; and as the interpretations rely on humans, it is often subjective. AgShift uses Deep Learning with Computer Vision, transforming the whole quality inspection and assessment process. Using its proprietary AI technology, defects are analyzed, and a judgment is made on the overall quality of the food. Moreover, the firm relies on numerous curated real-world images to teach their software to recognize and analyze defects. They ensure results are objective, highly consistent, accurate, rid of biases, and mental fatigue.
Being the first to apply AI in solving specific problems in the food sector, AgShift has built industry’s first, quality analyzer—combining state-of-the-art deep learning software models with patented IoT device. Samples to be inspected are uploaded into the analyzer for assessment, and the advantage is that the sample can be re-used. This ensures consistent quality assessment, zero waste, and early action in the supply chain before rejection. “With our technology, we reduce manual inspection by 50 percent, making the process more operationally efficient as well as saving organizations the time taken in manual assessments,” asserts Jha.
Having designed the most advanced autonomous food inspection system, quality assessment and judgments by the firm are done as per USDA specifications and an organization’s internal quality requirements. The firm’s unique approach empowers organizations with an end-to-end integrated solution, for enhanced efficiencies and standardized practices. Organizations are saved millions of dollars in recovery costs and loss of brand reputation due to these processes.
One such to benefit from AgShift is a large berry organization. The huge problem faced by the firm was that it worked with numerous berry growers and when specific shipments were rejected, the growers were not always convinced with the assessment done by the quality inspector. The reason being, the process was manual and subjective; hence, the firm decided to change the perception of 1000s of growers. This is when AgShift stepped in with its powerful solution and is working with the organization to make the quality assessment process more digitized and automated. With the assessment now being done by AI models, the results were consistent, accurate, and hassle-free. The firm could now live up to its brand name and source the same quality every single time.
Having narrowed down its solutions into three subcategories—fresh produce, edible nuts, and seafood, AgShift is looking to expand its solutions to broader commodities but intends to focus on food. In terms of geographic expansion, the firm’s 80 percent focused on North America but is looking for expansion specifically in India and Singapore. “Our goal is to inspire other entrepreneurs to think differently and apply cutting edge innovations in technology to food eco system. We want them to transform complex problems, which in turn is helping the entire community,” concludes Jha.